This was the coolest way that I’ve almost died, hands down. I was terrified, electrified, the most alive I’ve ever been and went through the biggest adrenaline rush I will ever experience.
In the summer of 2011 one of my best friends Jason and an old friend Ethan took a road trip out of Banff. Isn’t it the best when a drunken plan made in McDonald’s while eating disgusting burgers becomes a reality? Well, it was.
We went with the intention to drink, every single day. All we wanted to do was get drunk as shit in another city, we were bored of Winnipeg!
We had the most fun on this trip, it was such a good experience to go out with friends and just be with them all the time. Everything was dandy up until we went exploring one day, Jason and Ethan were on bikes and I was on my longboard.
We were cruising around town one morning and going down little hills, which was so much fun. We cruised down Main street just out of town over the creek a bit, if you went right you’d end up on the highway, but if you went left there was a nice hill going down to the parking lot of the golf course. Guess which one we took?
Jason was the only one that actually remembered the layout of Banff well because of how often he had visited. So he was the only one that was familiar with the hill, for the most part anyway.
I started cruising down the hill only hitting about 30 kmh (I know it sounds fast, but on a longboard that’s actually a very comfortable speed) with Jason and Ethan trailing me. All of a sudden, this hill goes from a nice gradual slope to a vertical wall.
“Well, fuck.” I thought. “I’m going to die.”
I only had four options. Option one, go straight into the back of a car, lose my balance and die. Option two, turn right, hit a guard rail, flip 15 times into a tree and die. Option three, go left, hit a guard rail, flip 1300 times, land on jagged rocks in the creek and die. Option four, pass cars and keep attempting not to get speed wobbles which would result in me eating shit and maybe dying.
After going through these options in my head (way too fast, I didn’t have a lot of time) I decided to go with option four. The speed limit on this hill was 60, I was passing cars. So it’s safe to say (the only safe thing about this story) that I was going way too fast. I knew that if I fell I’d be given a Guiness World Record for being the first person to lose ever square centimetre of their skin due to road rash. The thing that blew my mind (mostly because I realized that I had time to think about this, then tell myself to focus on what’s going on) was how delicate a longboard gets at such high speeds. Any shift of even a gram of your weight would send you off into a different direction. Thankfully I’ve been snowboarding and longboarding for years and knew how to stand and shift my weight properly.
Once I got to the final stretch of this hill I noticed that there was a very large parking lot that I’d be able to slow down in and get off this fun little death machine. Except there was a problem. There was a large bus unloading tourists that flooded the parking lot, but there was also a 90 degree turn I could take to go around the parking lot.
I chose to make the turn, I’d much rather injure myself than other innocent people that didn’t see my flying in like a bat out of hell. As I mentally prepare myself for this turn, all these thoughts went through my head.
“What if I die?” was the most prominent thought.
I tried not to think about this because I had to take the turn. My board started to slide out (which wasn’t supposed to happen because of my grippy wheels) which honestly scared the fuck out of me. Another thing that scared the fuck out of me was seeing a GMC Denali coming around a corner right in my direction.
I came within 8 inches of clipping that SUV’s mirror. I was going so fast down this hill that Jason and Ethan were a minute and a half behind me on their bikes.
That was the most fun moment of my life even though I was way too close to dying.
Scope out your path first, kids.